Economic, Political, Social?
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Jurgis cannot find work and faces the prospect of working in the fertilizer plant. The fertilizer plant is the worst factory in all of Packingtown. Some men would rather starve than work there, but Jurgis is ashamed that his wife makes all of their income. Jurgis finally accepts the terrible job at the fertilizer plant. His skin is soon covered with it and he gets a headache. After a half-an-hour, Jurgis vomits “until it seems as if his inwards must be torn into shreds.” The boss tells him that a man will get used to the fertilizer shed if he puts his mind to it.Jurgis sticks it out, however, and soon the physical pains become bearable and he becomes “a fertilizer-man for life.”